Officers have the duty and responsibility of leading troops in the Minnesota National Guard. There are numerous ways to earn a commission in the Minnesota National Guard:
State and Accelerated Officer Candidate School (OCS)
In order to enroll in either State or Accelerated Officer Candidate School, you must meet the following requirements:
- Candidates must have a minimum of 90 semester hours from an accredited college or university
- Have a minimum GT score of 110 on the ASVAB
- Candidates must be no more than 42 years of age at the time of commissioning.
- Candidates must have successfully completed Basic Training (BCT)
- Candidates must provide proof of US citizenship (naturalized or by birth)
- Pass a Chapter Two commissioning physical (AR 40-501)
- Have approved physical or moral waivers (if applicable)
Non-prior service candidates must sign a six-year contract. Prior-service candidates must sign a three-year contract.
State Officer Candidate School
The State OCS program is a 15-month course conducted in four phases beginning with a 15-day AT period in June at Camp Ripley. Phase II begins immediately following Phase I through IDT (weekend training) from August –July the following year. Phase III is a 15-day AT period at Fort Lewis, Washington in August. Soldiers are assigned to the Regional Training Institute until they receive their commission following Phase III. Each officer will attend Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC) within 18 months in the branch to which they are assigned.
Accelerated Officer Candidate School
The National Guard Bureau (NGB) conducts two different eight week accelerated OCS programs for qualified personnel identified by their respective commands and enrolled in the course.
SD501 (South Dakota 501)
Candidates report for training assemblies at Camp Ripley in April, May and possibly June depending on the schedule. The course is conducted over 8 weeks, from early June to early August, at Fort Meade, S.D. Candidates are eligible for commissioning upon course completion.
AL501 (Alabama 501)
Candidates report for drills at Camp Ripley starting in November, December and January. The course is conducted over 8 weeks from mid-January to mid-March at Fort McClellan, Alabama. Candidates are eligible to commission upon course completion.
Federal Officer Candidate School (Active Component)
The Federal OCS is conducted over a 12-week period at Fort Benning, GA. Eligibility requirements are very specific:
- Candidate must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Candidate must have a minimum ASVAB GT score of 110
- Candidate must commission before their 34th birthday
Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
Army ROTC is the college elective that trains the Army’s future commissioned officers while they earn their degree. The ROTC program is divided into a basic and advanced course. Freshmen and sophomore students with little or no military experience begin training as cadets in the basic course during their first two years of college. The advance course coincides with the junior and senior year of college. Cadets that have finished the basic course continue into the Advance course. Prior-service Soldiers with military experience in their junior year of college may also join the advance course. Cadets must successfully complete the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Washington prior to commissioning. In order to be eligible to receive a commission through the ROTC program, cadets must:
- Successfully complete the advance course and LDAC
- Receive Bachelors degree
- Pass standard 3-event Army Physical Fitness Test
- Meet height and weight standards
- Obtain a secret clearance
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Pass a commissioning physical (Chapter 2, AR 40-501)
- Have approved medical and moral waivers (if applicable)
Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP)
National Guard Soldiers attending colleges sponsoring ROTC units are eligible to apply for the SMP option. SMP is a two-year program that provides cadets a monthly subsistence allowance. Students may also apply for a Two-Year Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty Scholarship (GRFD) or a Two- or Four-Year Dedicated National Guard Scholarship (DNG). These scholarships pay for most tuition, and a flat rate for textbooks, classroom supplies, and equipment. SMP cadets are non-deployable assets. Basic and Advanced Training are deferred pending completion of SMP and commissioning. Contact Basic Branch Officer Recruiter (below) for further information and a list of colleges offering ROTC.
Basic Branch Direct Commission Program
The ARNG Direct Commission Program offers an alternate commissioning source to exceptionally qualified Non-Commissioned Officers (SSG and above) under the age of 42. The program does not replace or otherwise affect any commissioning programs. This individual is nominated and selected for consideration by their chain of command. Their packet must reflect:
- A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university
- A minimum of two years of active duty service
- A minimum GT score of 110
- NCO’s ability to pass the standard 3-event Army Physical Fitness Test
- NCO meets height and weight standards
- A secret clearance or clearance request submitted
- A commissioning physical (AR 40-501)
- A minimum of two exceptional NCOERs
- Chain of Command’s approval by letters of recommendation from commanders at the company, battalion, and brigade
No moral waivers are authorized.
Former commissioned officers of the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible for reappointment in the Minnesota Army National Guard. Contact a member of the Officer Strength Force (OSF) for more information.